A Travellerspoint blog

My trip to Milan

rain 29 °C

MILAN is Italy’s business capital, urban, and grey (literally since it was drizzling when we got there and everything seemed grey to me). For short trips to Italy, I’d recommend that people skip Milan since it doesn’t fulfill the usual cravings for “quintessential Italy”. Even the inside of Duomo is not as impressive as the other churches in Rome. Hotels and food are also more expensive in Milan.

We arrived at Milan from France via Trenitalia
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Anyhoo, first mandatory photo is at the white marbled Duomo which is smacked at the center of Milan.
Duomo with its hundred of spires

Duomo with its hundred of spires

There are lots of pigeons at the piazza in front of Duomo. Be careful as locals will forcefully put bird seeds on your hands, or sprinkle some at your shoulders so the birds will flock to you. Then they will demand payment from you! A local demanded 10euros from us!
i was a bit scared at first

i was a bit scared at first

The most exciting part of our Milan Trip is that we got to see Leonardo da Vinci’s actual mural of “The Last Supper” at the Monastery of Santa Maria dela Grazzie, a UNESCO World Heritage!!

Below is the picture of the monastery’s red bricks, so its easy fairly easy to locate it.
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We got inside, and was wowed by the collection of paintings which were hanging on the wall.
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Ceilings and walls are also intricately designed
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After our visit to the monastery, we proceeded to the next building where The Last Supper mural is located.
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Now, since we haven’t done any research ahead of this trip, we were thinking we could easily get tickets off the counter. We were SO WRONG. Tickets are sold out MONTHS in advance, given that only a limited number of people may view it. Apparently, access to the refectory is strictly limited to a few people per day (to preserve the painting, they need to regulate the temperature, oxidation, etc). And so we lost all hope of going inside. However, the lady at the counter called to my dad and told him that three (3) people cancelled their reservations and that she could sell the tickets to us! GRAZIE MILLE!! God bless her and those 3 who cancelled! We immediately paid and grabbed the tickets!:)

Write up about the mural

Write up about the mural

picture of the monastery when it was bombed during the WW2

picture of the monastery when it was bombed during the WW2

No more than 25 people are allowed at a time, and visits are limited to approximately 15 minutes only. The refectory is a sealed, temperature controlled room. From the lobby, a glass door will open to let the group inside a sort-of holding area – this is actually the humidity controlling chamber. We went through several doors like this, before we got to the actual refectory itself. When we saw the painting on the wall, there was a collective gasp. The painting was super huge and covers the end wall of the dining hall of the monastery! Unfortunately, taking photo is strictly prohibited, but I managed to get this photo at their website:
the room where the mural is located!

the room where the mural is located!

The Last Supper close up. Picture also lifted from their website

The Last Supper close up. Picture also lifted from their website

We also went to Castello Sforzesco, which used to be the home of Sforzas (Duke of Milan) and later the Austrian governor. As there are nothing much to do here, we just sat on the grass and soak up the sun

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outside Castello Sforzesco

outside Castello Sforzesco

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the piazza inside

the piazza inside


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dashing policemen

dashing policemen

dashing policman

dashing policman


Castello Sforzesco outside

Castello Sforzesco outside

Of course, being the fashion capital, my Mom and I did not miss the opportunity to shop! But lunch first at one of the restaurants in Galeria Vittorio Emanuele. Ceiling is gorgeous!

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As it was raining, there were peddlers everywhere

As it was raining, there were peddlers everywhere

Some of our other pictures all over milan:
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Milan artist painting at the street

Milan artist painting at the street


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that is me, trying "street food"

that is me, trying "street food"


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At the train station of milan
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Hope you enjoyed my photos! Ciao!!

Posted by Kate T. 16.04.2014 03:36 Archived in Italy Tagged italy europe milan last_supper Comments (0)

Spending Christmas at Bali

Eat Pray Love Style

overcast 26 °C
View Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on Kate T.'s travel map.

My husband and I spent the Christmas holiday at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. It is also our honeymoon. While weather in the Philippines is nice during December, it is rainy in Bali. In fact, it was raining hard when we arrived on December 24. Fortunately, the sky cleared up on the remaining days of our trips.

We opted to stay at Nusa Dua where atmosphere is perfect for honeymoon (based on blogs and travel websites). There are five (5) hotels along the stretch of Nusa Dua strip, we chose to stay at Westin Resort. We decided to splurge on our hotel since we planned to lounge at the beach for most of our stay. Service and amenities of the hotel are very good. The best part of the room is the bathroom - it is so gorgeous! Food is also yummy! All restaurants in Nusa Dua are found in hotels. If you want to try other restaurants (cheaper than hotel rate), you have to go out of Nusa Dua strip and go to town. We had a nice stay at eWstin, the staff attended to us and made sure we have everything we need. The beach at Westin is so relaxing and peaceful, there are no loud party music, you just hear the splash of the waves, laughter and traditional balinese music.

Hotels along the stretch of Nusa Dua

Hotels along the stretch of Nusa Dua


Spending the whole day lounging at this hut

Spending the whole day lounging at this hut


Spending the whole day lounging at this hut

Spending the whole day lounging at this hut


Lunch at Veranda, one of the restaurants in Westin Resort

Lunch at Veranda, one of the restaurants in Westin Resort


Beach breeze

Beach breeze


one of the huts

one of the huts


Nusa Dua Beach

Nusa Dua Beach


Nusa Dua Beach

Nusa Dua Beach


Beach front bar where we ordered food and drinks while basking under the sun

Beach front bar where we ordered food and drinks while basking under the sun


This is the pool side

This is the pool side

We hired a local driver for our private tours. We spent 2 days in touring Nusa Dua and Ubud areas. On our first day, we went around the city to familiarize ourselves. We noted the good restaurants, spa and shops. This way, it would be easier to go out of Nusa Dua, even without a guide..

For our tour, we went to Turtle Island where locals will let you touch, carry and feed the turtles. Entrance is free, but there is a donation box at the exit door for those generous tourists. As this is an island, you will have to ride a boat to get there. Travel time is approximately 10mins from shore.

My husband attempting to carry the turtle

My husband attempting to carry the turtle


That is me, feeding them, because they are heavy to lift

That is me, feeding them, because they are heavy to lift

After that we went to GWK Cultural Park where we saw colossal limestone pillars and monumental Garuda statue.

Limestone Pillars

Limestone Pillars

Sacred Forest Monkey Sanctuary (Ubud Monkey Forest) where monkeys roam free. At the entrance, the guides instruct tourists to remove their eyeglasses/sunglasses and caps because the monkeys will snatch them away. The locals are not kidding. Along the path you will see broken sunglasses, so better remove them, or be sorry.

Monkey along the walkway

Monkey along the walkway


overlooking

overlooking

After several hours of walking, we decided to have dinner at Jimbaran Bay. We were seated along the shore to overlook the sunset. Tip: You have to make reservations so that you can have available seats for dinner. Sometimes, the whole bay is packed with tourists and it's hard to get the spot you want.
Seafood Dinner

Seafood Dinner

The following day, we went to Tirta Empul Temple, also known as holy spring water temple. Balinese people believe that this water source can heal various diseases, that's why this place is visited by many Hindu people to do the ritual.

Holy Water

Holy Water


Locals waiting for their turn to bath in the holy water

Locals waiting for their turn to bath in the holy water


Tirta Empul Temple

Tirta Empul Temple

We had lunch at a restaurant in Mt. Batur (which is so nice)!

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We had a trip at one of the coffee tree plantations and had a sip of Luwak Coffee

Old lady grinding coffee beans

Old lady grinding coffee beans

That's me holding Luwak Poop

That's me holding Luwak Poop


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After our Luwak coffee we went to Ubud to see the rice terraces.

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The terraces are nice enough, but not impressive. The rice terraces in Banaue, Philippines is carved out of several mountains it will make your jaw drop so, when I saw the ones in Ubud, I was a little disappointed.

Lastly, we wouldn't leave Bali without trying their Balinese Massage :) now this is something new. Balinese massage uses skin rolling, kneading and stroking. It was so relaxing! One unique experience we had in the spa is that after the massage, the masseuse ran a hot water bath for us, sprinkled the tub with oil and rose petals!
Relaxing Balinese Massage at Nusa Dua Beach

Relaxing Balinese Massage at Nusa Dua Beach

My husband and I plan to go back to see the other parts of Bali - probably Kuta and Seminyak and try surfing.

Posted by Kate T. 26.12.2013 08:29 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali beach indonesia westin christmas resort asia denpasar nusa_dua Comments (0)

Boracay: The Ultimate Tropical Island

Gorgeous Boracay Island

sunny 30 °C

Boracay is my all time favorite. My husband and I make it a point to visit at least once a year.

The thing about Boracay is that the beach is so great, the sand so white and so so fine – just like flour!

Blue and white. Gorgeous

Blue and white. Gorgeous

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That's my husband

That's my husband


That's me

That's me

The beachfront long, with a beach path running parallel to the shore, you could spend your whole stay on Boracay on sand, doing absolutely nothing and yet not get bored. The landscape is so beautiful, the water cool (even if its 35degrees

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

) and blue & turquoise.
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For those wanting to just lounge around and top up their tan, beach-front hotels usually have lounge chairs set up just a few steps away from the hotel rooms.
Under the mushroom-like hut

Under the mushroom-like hut


Chairs set up by hotels

Chairs set up by hotels


Lounging and enjoying cold fruit juices

Lounging and enjoying cold fruit juices


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That's me, shaded from the sun

That's me, shaded from the sun


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Some of the establishments in Station 1 Boracay

Some of the establishments in Station 1 Boracay


Obama Restaurant

Obama Restaurant

There are also water sports and activities such as parasailing, wind surfing, snorkeling, diving, helmet diving, jet skiing, atv ride.
That's my husband feeding the fish

That's my husband feeding the fish


Its more fun to helmet dive with friends!

Its more fun to helmet dive with friends!


Snorkling

Snorkling


ATV ride

ATV ride


We really enjoyed the Flying fish!!

We really enjoyed the Flying fish!!


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Me and my husband parasailing!

Me and my husband parasailing!


We are high up in the sky <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

We are high up in the sky :)

The fun in Boracay doesn't end when the sun sets. Boracay night-life pulsates with many bars and restaurants serving food, drink and fun until dawn.
Watch the amazing fire dance performance by locals

Watch the amazing fire dance performance by locals


Party in one of the bars

Party in one of the bars


Quiet dinner with the hubby at the shore

Quiet dinner with the hubby at the shore


Night cap

Night cap


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We’ve been to the beaches in other countries, but hands down, Boracay beach is the prettiest.

How to Get there: Boracay is an hour's flight from Manila. There are two international airports: Kalibo International Airport and Caticlan International Airport. I suggest Caticlan because its nearer to Boracay. Once you get off the plane at Caticlan, you’ll have to ride a tricycle to the port (5mins ride), then a boat to Boracay Island itself (10mins).
Boat ride to boracay island

Boat ride to boracay island

From there, you can arrange for your hotel to pick you up from the port, otherwise, you’ll have to ride a tricycle to go to your hotel.
Tricycle ride from the port going to hotel

Tricycle ride from the port going to hotel

Fares going to Kalibo Airport is cheaper than the ones in Caticlan. However, you’ll have to ride a van going to Boracay port which will take approximately 2 hours, then 10 minute boat ride to Boracay Island, then ride tricycle to your hotel.

Boracay Life: Wake up, sit on the beach, get breakfast, lounge at the beach, order fruit shakes, get lunch, read, swim a little bit. Watch the sunset, get dinner, drink and party! Must eats are crabs, lobsters, shrimps, mangoes, drink buko juice (coconut).

Yummy seafood. We enjoy eating at the Dampa (market) where you can choose your fresh seafood from the vendors and have it cooked at the restaurants beside the market. Cheaper too!

Yummy seafood. We enjoy eating at the Dampa (market) where you can choose your fresh seafood from the vendors and have it cooked at the restaurants beside the market. Cheaper too!


Lobster at the market

Lobster at the market


We bought the shrimps and crabs, and have it cooked at the restaurant

We bought the shrimps and crabs, and have it cooked at the restaurant


Yummy food

Yummy food


Yummy fruit juice

Yummy fruit juice


Buko juice (coconut) at $2.00

Buko juice (coconut) at $2.00


Yummy crab!

Yummy crab!


Yummy shrimp!

Yummy shrimp!

A few shots of gorgous sunset. At sunset, the sky turns different colors so you must ready your camera and take as much pictures as possible. Here are some of the pictures, with no filter! I promise! 
silhouette

silhouette


Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset


Blue, violet and yellow

Blue, violet and yellow


Orange sunset

Orange sunset


Pink and violet

Pink and violet


Blue and violet

Blue and violet


Pink

Pink

I'm lucky that Boracay is just an hour ride from Manila :) Hope you enjoyed the pictures! If you have any questions about Boracay, Ill be happy to answer them!

Posted by Kate T. 12.04.2013 02:21 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches philippines asia boracay boracay_island Comments (0)

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